Spending the holidays with your family seems like the perfect way to celebrate. Then you arrive… and Grandma wants to know why you are still single or Uncle Jim has already downed a few spiked hot toddies. Thanks to our Etiquette Essentials guests, Right or Rude, there is light at the end of the tunnel! We’re excited to welcome Jeannie Pearman, Carole Holmes Delouvrier, and Fernanda Zapata Vakil, three generations of top-notch semi-refined ladies, all experts in decorum, etiquette and generally raucous and rowdy real-world behavior. The holidays can be wonderful or they can feel like an endurance race. Here’s how to easily survive the holidays with your loved ones:

1. Trying to please everyone ends up pleasing no one. Tension is always high during this time of year, so figure out your priorities of who you want to see and don’t over commit. You will end up making yourself crazy!

2. Make sure when you RSVP yes to dinner, you show up or call in your regrets. How much food to make, table settings to create, and gifts to buy depend on whom has confirmed. Don’t inconvenience your family by being a no show after you said yes, or just showing up without notice.

3. No re-gifting unless you are sending the gift to your aunt in South Dakota- she likely will not know. To avoid a fake thank you or a crying child, ask around to see what they’ve been hinting at. For adults, you can’t go wrong with Visa gift cards and kids always prefer toys to clothes.

4. Bring on the wine! Feel free to have a few glasses to loosen up. But know your limits and remember to have a designated driver if you drink too many. A couple of drinks can make your loud, loving family a little more tolerable.

5. Don’t forget the ability to say thank you during this busy and chaotic time of year. Thank your dad who helped you move into a new home, your aunt who babysat when you had the flu, and your grandparents who never forget your birthday.

6. Laugh. The holidays are a time to lighten up and enjoy being around the ones you love. If you thought a joke or story was funny, laugh like you did when you were little.

7. Have a plan B when traveling because things always go wrong. Flights get cancelled, buses get delayed, and your perfect holiday might seem ruined. But if you have a backup plan you will still be able to celebrate in good company.

8. Writing a wonderful letter to your good friend or favorite cousin is much better than spending money on an unimportant gift. It is one of the most beautiful gifts you can give and something they can cherish forever.

9. Please do remember those that are lonely and may not have someone to care for them like you do in your life. So throughout the chaos that the holiday may bring, cherish the moments you spend with your family. After all, they’re the only ones who will always love you for who you are.